Office Coach: Quiet or chatty, you must adapt

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Question: Of the ten secretaries in my work group, I am definitely the quietest. I chat with my co-workers first thing in the morning, but after that I prefer to focus on my job.

Although I really am interested in other people, I just don't feel the need to keep talking all day. But I'm afraid my colleagues may think I'm a snob because I dislike unnecessary conversation.

Answer: To promote workplace harmony, people with opposite personality traits should make a reasonable effort to modify their natural work styles.

Quiet folks must engage in enough interaction to convey a friendly interest, while their loquacious counterparts need to dial back the constant chatter.

Try to understand that what seems like "unnecessary conversation" can be an important part of building relationships, so take some time to ask your colleagues about their work, family or personal interests.

If you want others to accept your innate reserve, you must also accept their more gregarious personalities.


Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach and the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics." Send in questions and get free coaching tips at


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